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Govt eyes CSR funds for rain-fed regions

Agri Ministry aims to rope in private sector in this segment as investment and collaboration key to developing a sustainable agriculture system

Govt eyes CSR funds for rain-fed regions
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Govt eyes CSR funds for rain-fed regions

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Officials said that over Rs3,500 cr was invested in agriculture and for rural development under the purview of CSR during the period between 2015-16 and 2019-20. Yet, there is no organized mechanism to evaluate the importance and priority of the identified projects, monitoring, or their contribution to the national initiatives and commitments

New Delhi: The central government is working on a tech-based system so that corporate social responsibility (CSR) funding could be extended to the rain-fed regions on a sustainable basis.

Talking to Bizz Buzz, officials said that over Rs3,500 crore was invested in agriculture and for rural development under the purview of CSR during the period between 2015-16 and 2019-20. Yet, there is no organized mechanism to evaluate the importance and priority of the identified projects, monitoring, or their contribution to the national initiatives and commitments.

The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare believes that an integrated platform with a robust management information system or MIS is required. This can facilitate the preparation of sound proposals for inviting and guiding interested agencies and companies, selecting priority areas and projects, and undertaking periodic monitoring and technical supervision for best use of these resources.

Quite apart from attracting CSR funding into rain-fed agriculture, the Ministry also sees a great scope for the private sector in this segment. Private sector investment and collaboration is a key to developing a sustainable agriculture system, officials said.

Private sector will be incentivized and facilitated to develop innovative support mechanisms (quality inputs, cost-effective credits, certification and audits, capacity-building training, etc.) to ease the transition of farmers to sustainable practices.

Private companies will be encouraged to drive adoption of sustainable agriculture practices and systems (SAPSs) in their supply chains (domestic and global) via the suitable existing or new supply chain assurance and traceability mechanisms.

There are business opportunities created by the shift to sustainable agriculture in rainfed regions. The examples are: development and commercialization of farm implements to ease laborious sustainable practices; production and supply of special or new types of inputs like biopesticides and precision tools.

Ravi Shanker Kapoor
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